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Statewide Court Listening Tour Kicks Off in Orlando

Florida Supreme Court./ Photo: WikiMedia Commons.
Florida Supreme Court./ Photo: WikiMedia Commons.

A statewide listening tour for Florida’s court system kicked off in Orlando Thursday.

The Florida Supreme Court Committee is calling for public input into the Florida Judicial Branch's strategic plan for the next 7 years.

In Orlando, the committee heard from citizens and public officials, including the Orange County Legal Aid Society.

William Davis is the president of the society’s board of trustees. He said one of the concerns is the case load for judges.

“Too many cases can mean delays in the cases, can mean disappearing witnesses, can mean stale evidence, and ultimately less than the best justice that can be had for our clients," said Davis.

"Delays can be devastating for the children and the families that legal aid typically represents.”

Davis said other concerns include lack of communication between the courts,  lack of community understanding about the court system, and difficulty for some clients in obtaining filing fee waivers.

“When a low income client is turned away by a clerk of court from filing a pleading for whatever reason, that’s usually the end, they don’t do anything else," said Davis.

The litigant doesn’t go any further, they don’t go to a supervisor, they don’t get to a judge, they don’t talk to a lawyer, that’s just the end of the situation.”

Davis said the legal aid society is able to help some low income litigants.

The Supreme Court Committee will hold five other public meetings across the state, and finalize its 2016- 2022 plan by the summer.

Florida’s courts handle about 4 million cases a year.